Recent media coverage is causing a re-evaluation of what I know, or have known, about the current state of our society. I shall open with two definitions that I feel are appropriate to this conversation: RESPECT and OPINION.
Respect. noun re·spect \ri-ˈspekt\
1 a relation or reference to a particular thing or situation <remarks having respect to an earlier plan>
2 an act of giving particular attention : consideration
3 a : high or special regard : esteem
b : the quality or state of being esteemed
c plural : expressions of high or special regard or deference <paid our respects>
Opinion. noun opin·ion \ə-ˈpin-yən\
1 a : a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter
2 a : belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge
b : a generally held view
3 a : a formal expression of judgment or advice by an expert
b : the formal expression (as by a judge, court, or referee) of the legal reasons and principles upon which a legal decision is based
Aretha called for one and Dear Abby provided the other. There is also the saying that ends with “…everyone has one”. If we as a community could get past the fervor caused by the media and get back to the basics our parents/grandparents taught us, “respect each other’s opinions”, maybe we will get through this current storm. You don’t have to agree with it and you don’t have to like it, you just need to be considerate enough to accept the fact that someone else may have a different viewpoint that you do.
In my opinion, the “politically correct”, hand-sanitizer, generation has gone too far. No longer are we allowed to have an opinion that differs from the herd. If you think outside of the current trend, you are ostracized and called a bigot or racist. We hear of free-range parenting, trans-racial office holders, trans-gender Olympic athletes, don’t fly that flag over here, a flag being stomped on over there… too many others are worried about how you should live your life instead of taking care of themselves.
The military now has a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender pride month. A lifestyle choice is being given a month to celebrate. How about a pride month for Fat Beer Drinking White guys? FBDWG pride! That is a personal choice/lifestyle too. Don’t get me wrong, I support whatever it is you want to do with yourself or within your own home. Get married, adopt kids, and be happy! So long as you are harming no one else. On the flip side, I expect the same courtesy for everyone else who has a different perspective. Twenty or thirty years ago, we all knew Richard Simmons, Freddie Mercury and The Village People were all flaming gay men… guess what? Nobody cared. It was game-show hilarity, rock and roll, and catchy disco.
Today, we criticize those who want to prevent the desecration of our Nation’s flag when a protester burns or stomps on Old Glory. They say it is all protected free speech and in the same breath, shout out that the Confederate flag is racist and offensive. One person’s heritage is another person’s symbol of oppression. Guess what? The Amish think zippers are the devil’s handiwork. We don’t see them calling for the removal of all zippers.
Today, outrage is everywhere when a white cop shoots an unarmed black man but yet there are no mass riots when a white girl is killed and stuffed in a trash can over her bicycle. There is no doubt in my eyes that Black lives DO matter… then again, so does all life. The failure to show an equal level of disgust for everyone seems to scream bias. Yet in today’s media coverage, differing views are no longer allowed to be different.
We would never go into a halal butcher and ask for a pound of bacon just like we wouldn’t go into a Jewish deli and ask for pork. Don’t like bacon, don’t eat it… just don’t try telling me what I can and cannot eat because you disagree. Why then would we force a baker to make a cake that defies their personal belief? Just move on to the next bakery or deli or butcher. These are not Red versus Blue issues and they are not Black versus White. This is America, where everyone was welcomed into our pot to become one spectacular stew.
It is my opinion that we must get back to the way things used to be… if you are not harming someone else with your held beliefs, then press on with pride. Want to be a chain-smoking, whisky loving, beer drinker? Have at it! Though the same rules apply… don’t smoke in my house if I don’t smoke, don’t overindulge, don’t be an asshole outside of a bar to those in the community, and don’t get behind the wheel of a car. Want to be a rainbow flag waving, cross dressing, activist? More power to you! The idea is that we might not agree, but we should at least respect one another’s opinions and only intervene when public safety is a concern.
I respect that others may feel strongly for, or against, many of these topics. The idea is that we must respect the differences of opinion that make us all special and unique without demanding that others agree.